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General FAQs

Creating a partition for use with Windows

  1. Power on your computer and connect the HGST drive.

  2. Open the Disk Management utility by right-clicking on the My Computer icon found on the desktop (or Start menu) and selecting “Manage” from the drop down menu as shown below.

    Select manage by right clicking on my computer

  3. The Computer Management console will appear as shown below. Click on “Disk Management” in the left-hand panel.  Your HGST drive will appear as "not Initialized.”

    Click on disk management in the left hand panel

    Right click on Disk 1 and select Initialize Disk from the pull-down menu as shown. 

  4. Click on the OK button to continue.

    click ok to initialize the disk

  5. HGST (Disk 1) is now identified as Basic and Online.

    disk 1 is now identified as basic and online

  6. Right-click on the Disk 1 “Unallocated” bar entry and select New Partition from the pull-down menu as shown below.

    Create new partition

  7. The window shown below will appear. Click on the Next button to continue.

    Click next to continue through the new partition wizard

  8. The following window will appear. Select “Primary partition” and click on the Next button to continue.

    select primary partition and click next to continue

  9. Assign the Partition size in MB to match the Maximum disk space in megabytes (MB) then click on the Next button to continue. This will create one large volume using all of the available space on HGST drive.

    Assign partition size in MB

    Multiple partitions can be created on HGST drive. Consult your Windows documentation for instructions on setting up multiple partitions.

  10. Windows will automatically assign a drive letter (in this example E:). Accept this by clicking on the Next button to continue.

    Assign a drive letter from the drop down list

  11. Enter a Volume Label: (for this example, HGST), check the Perform a quick format box and click on the Next button to continue.

    enter the drive volume name and perform a quick format by checking the box

  12. Click on the Finish button to complete the New Partition wizard.

    Click finish to complete the new partition wizard

  13. Windows will format the volume and then display the following window. Disk 1 is now identified as HGST (E:). Exit the Computer Management console.

    the drive is now identified and is ready for use

  14. HGST will now be displayed as an available hard disk drive in My Computer as shown below.

    drive is ready for use 

Disk Management says my HGST hard drive is a "GPT Protective Partition"

On Windows I canít initialize my HGST hard drive
Disk Management says it is a “GPT Protective Partition.”

Before starting process remove all other external drives except the drive you want to erase/initialize. This does not include the start up drive.


  1. Open Disk Management by right clicking on “My Computer” and then clicking on “Manage.”

    Right click on My Computer and then select manage from the list.

  2. Go to Disk Management and resize the window so you can view ALL the drives in the lower right section of Disk Management.

  3. IMPORTANT! Locate the Disk # next to the disk that indicates “GPT Protective Partition” In the example below it is Disk 1. Be sure to locate YOUR DISK #. Do not use Disk 1 unless you confirm this is your drive disk #. The image below is meant as an example ONLY.

    Failure to select the correct Disk # will result in a loss of data when performing the clean procedure.

    Locate your disk number

  4. Open a Command window by clicking on the “START” menu and selecting “RUN”...

    Click on Start then Run

    ...then type “CMD” (without quotes) in the window that opens:

    Type CMD in the run dialog box

    Click OK Note: Should you not see the Run option, you can access the command prompt by clicking Start Button ñ-> Programs ñ-> Accessories ñ-> Command Prompt.

    Please backup any data on the drive prior to proceeding. The Clean procedure will delete all data on the drive.

  5. In the Command window type “diskpart” (without quotes) and press ENTER

  6. Now type “select disk X” (without quotes) and press ENTER; (X = the drive that is GPT Protected)BE CERTAIN YOU HAVE SELECTED THE CORRECT DISK.

  7. Now type “clean” (without quotes) and press ENTER. (This will start the clean procedure)

  8. type “exit” (without quotes) then press ENTER. (This will exit the command window)

    Run the diskpart program enter your disk number and type clean

  9. Your HGST drive is now ready to be partitioned in Disk Manager.

    Click here
    to continue on to creating a partition for use with Windows

Hard drives greater than 2TB may not work on existing operating systems

External USB, eSATA, Firewire, and internal hard drives over 2 TB's cannot be formatted on Windows 32-bit operating systems using the Master Boot Record (MBR) partitioning scheme. As a result, when you connect drives over 2 TB's, depending on which interface you are using to connect them to the computer, they may not be recognized at all. They may be only partially recognized showing 700+ GB, or they may be recognized but you can't access them. Other issues such as the system locking up or the computer not being able to boot may also occur.

This is not an internal or external hard drive issue. It is a 2TB volume limitation caused by the Master Boot Record (MBR) partitioning scheme that has long been used by Windows 32-bit operating systems such as Windows 2000 and XP.

In order to use a drive larger than 2 TB, you will need an operating system that can partition and format that drive. Windows 7, Vista, Windows XP (64-bit), Mac 10.4, Mac 10.5 and Mac 10.6 all have this capability through the GUID Partitioning Table (GPT). The GUID partitioning scheme has the ability to partition both internal and external drives far beyond 2 TB in size.

For more information on GUID partitioning please see:

For more information on MBR partition size limitations, please see:

How can I test my drive to see if it is defective?

A: If you are experiencing problems with your drive or would just like to test the driveís integrity, download and run the HGST Drive Fitness Test.

If possible, we recommend that you backup any important data before running the test. Run the quick test first. If you are experiencing problems, but receive the result 0x00 try running the Advanced Test option. When you have completed the test, please contact the Support Center with the results and our agents will be able to assist you on resolving the problem.

How do I make an exact copy my old hard drive and put in on the new hard drive?

A: There are several alternatives available depending on your hardware platform and operating environment.
Symantec Norton Ghost
Acronis True Image
Miray HDClone

Many laptops only have one internal drive bay. One solution is to mount the drive into an external enclosure and clone the drive. Apricorn and CMS both offer reasonably priced packages. Please visit the following sites for details:
EZ Gig IV Cloning Software by Apricorn
Data Transfer Solution by CMS Products

The advantage of using an external enclosure is that you can use your original drive as additional storage once the cloning process is complete.
The most popular software is Carbon Copy Cloner by Mike Bombich:
Carbon Copy Cloner

How do I partition and format my new drive?

A: Depending on the operating system being used, there could be multiple steps involved in partitioning and formatting a drive.

For more information, please see our Partitioning and Formatting Reference Guide.

How do I Defragment my hard drive in Windows?

Open My Computer (XP) or Computer (Vista/7) from your desktop or Start Menu. Right click on the drive you would like to Defragment and select Properties. Choose the Tools tab and then select Defragment Now.

How do I find the hard drive on my system?

In Windows, the drive should appear under My Computer as another hard drive shortly after being connected.

On a Mac, the drive should appear on your Desktop shortly after being connected.

If your drive does not appear in the appropriate location, please consult the Troubleshooting guide.

I added a new drive to my system, why have the drive letters changed?

External drives are not assigned a permanent letter by Windows. The next available letter will be assigned at drive connection or system startup. Based on the order the drives are detected by the computer this may cause a drive to be assigned a different letter than you are used to. If you would like to permanently assign a letter to a drive, this can be done in Disk Management. The steps below will guide you through setting a letter. Some screens may vary slightly depending on your version of Windows, but the steps are the same. You will need to be logged in as an administrator to complete this process.

  1. Right Click Computer/My Computer on your desktop or in the Start Menu and select Manage.


  2. In Windows Vista and Windows 7 you may be prompted for permission to proceed.

  3. The Computer Management window will open, left click once on Disk Management.


  4. Right click on the drive letter that you would like to change and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.


  5. On the Change Drive Letter screen, select Change.


  6. Click the down arrow next to the current drive letter and select an available drive letter from the list. Click OK.


  7. A message will prompt you to confirm the change.


  8. After clicking Yes, the new drive letter will be assigned. This letter will be automatically assigned to this specific drive on this computer going forward. Changing the drive letter will not affect the letter assigned on additional computers. The process needs to be repeated on each computer where a specific letter is desired.

My drive became locked with a password or I forgot my hard drive password. How do I gain access to my data?

A: Unfortunately, there is no way to bypass the security password feature of HGST hard disk drives. If the password is not known or has been misplaced, HGST will not be able to assist in gaining access to the data on the drive.

My HGST product is broken. How can I get a replacement or request an RMA?

A: To check the warranty status of your drive, and if necessary create an RMA, please visit the Warranty section of our website.

What are the speed differences between USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, eSATA and Thunderbolt?

All speeds listed are the theoretical maximum for the connection type. Speeds will vary based on your system configuration and the attached device.

Mb = Megabit,
MB = Megabyte,
Gb = Gigabit,
GB = Gigabyte.
8Mb = 1MB, 8Gb = 1GB.

FireWire 400 – 400Mbps
USB 2.0 – 480Mbps
FireWire 800 – 800Mbps
eSATA – 3Gbps
USB 3.0 – 5Gbpps
Thunderbolt – 10Gbps

What is a true backup?

The most basic description of a backup is a copy of your files. This means having your files stored in at least two places. The original file remains on your computer and a copy is stored in another location, such as another computer, an external drive, CD/DVDs, or in an online backup. Anytime a file is stored in only one location it is at risk. Backups can be done by simply copying the files to a second place using drag/drop, copy/paste, or send to options. A more structured backup can be done using software specifically designed for that purpose. There are several types of backup software available. Many will do a ìdata copyî backup. A data copy entails just copying personal files like pictures, documents and music. Other programs will do a ìcomplete system backupî that includes all program and operating system files. This type of backup is frequently referred to as a clone, image, or disaster recovery.

There are benefits and drawbacks to each of the two backup types. A data backup takes less space and can be processed much more quickly. It also makes restore of individual files much easier. However, in the event of a system failure the OS and all programs will need to be reinstalled separately. The complete backup avoids the issues of reinstalling, but can reintroduce system problems that existed when the backup was created. Also, with a complete backup a complete restore is generally required. Individual files and folders cannot be accessed separately.

Backup programs copy files in two different ways. Most programs that backup only data do it with a simple copy, allowing direct access to the files from the backup without requiring a restore. The second method, which is generally used in a complete backup, is to archive the files. All files and folders are combined into a larger file(s). This file(s) can only be accessed using the restore function built into the backup software. The archive provides an extra layer of protection to the files, as they cannot be accidentally modified and are far better protected from viruses.

A “true backup” involves more than just copying the files. In this situation multiple revisions of a file are stored. This provides protection beyond simple hardware failure. In the event that a file is edited or corrupted and then backed up, access to a previous version is still possible. This type of backup can require a great deal of storage space, as a single file will be stored repeatedly.

Where can I find information on RoHS compliance and HGST drives?

A: HGST provides a web site specifically for RoHS/WEEE information:


Where can I purchase HGST hard disk drives?

A: You can find purchasing information and sales links in the Where to Buy section of our web site.

Where do I find drivers for my HGST drive?

A: All operating systems (OS) have hard disk drivers built into the OS by default. No additional drivers are required for the drive itself.

If you are being asked for drivers by the installation software or your drive is not detected during the OS installation, you may need to download the most current version of your controller or motherboard drivers. To obtain the most current version of your controller or motherboard drivers, please contact the manufacturer of your controller or motherboard or visit their web site for more information.

All information is provided by HGST on an "AS IS" basis only. HGST makes no representations or warranties, whether express or implied, regarding the information, including the warranty of non-infringement and non-interference and the implied warranty or terms of merchantability, and fitness or use for a particular purpose.

Use of information that is provided by HGST is at the recipient's own risk. HGST provides no assurances that any reported problems may be resolved with the use of any information that HGST provides. By furnishing information, HGST does not grant any licenses to any copyrights, trademarks, patents or any other intellectual property rights.

Any trademarks and product or brand names referenced in this document are the property of their respective owners. Please consult your HGST product manuals for complete trademark information.

Any references to third parties are provided as reference only and are not recommendations of any products by HGST. HGST makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these companies or products.